Let’s get one thing straight, this tabloid is all about mountain biking … and some gravel bikes (love them). And the following banter is about what you should have/do as a mountain biker, and it follows therefore that there are ‘things’ you shouldn’t have or do.
A quick disclaimer: if you’re a hotshot, competitive XC/Marathon rider this list doesn’t apply to you because
you want light and fast and you’re sponsored, and you may even represent your country’s colours and
therefore you don’t always have full autonomy in your decision-making process.
There is truth in a lot of what this list tells us. Most of us have ridden with guys whose behaviour falls within
the second column. And, although this list has some tongue-in-cheek commentary there is a whole lot of
stuff in the ‘should not’ column that drives you crazy and is frustrating for the group of riders that are trying
to do things right. Your ride is cut short because your buddy’s bike breaks down because he doesn’t look after it … where authorities stop you and you’re delayed because he has not paid!
There is technical advice in the first column that will make you a better rider (e.g. a dropper seat post and wider bars). There is also no reason to look like you have no clue about looking good by not wearing wornthrough Lycra shorts where the padding has imploded and where a colony of bacteria is the start of a new breed of bad beings. Or wearing an old, faded Mountain Hermits social riding shirt that has seen its day a decade or more ago.
Mountain biking is such a lekker sport catering for all shapes and sizes and budgets and riding disciplines.
Whoever I am or you are doesn’t mean that we have to look like sh*t; not pay our way, dues and fees;
inconvenience our riding mates with poor preparation and low maintenance; behave poorly on the trails;
disregard our and other riders safety and worry our friends and family.
Finally: we should take full responsibility for ourselves, whether we’re alone or riding together. The more prepared you are as an individual the better it is for you and the buddies you ride with.
Before the ride. During the ride. And after the ride
|You Should Ride||You Should Not Ride|
|In baggies – cool||In Lycra shorts – not cool|
|With a dropper seat post – more control||With a rigid seat post|
|Wearing long-finger gloves||With no gloves or short finger gloves|
|With knee and elbow protective gear||Unprotected (like sex)|
|With wide bars||Narrow bars|
|Your bike||A stolen bike|
|A bike from your LBS or a pre-owned deal||A bike from an online direct manufacture / warehouse / supermarket|
|In a fashionable TRAIL shirt||In a RACE shirt – unless you’re in the race|
|A quiet, clean, well-maintained MTB||A noisy, dirty, under-maintained bike|
|In a quality, less than three year old helmet||In an old or damaged helmet|
|With your own emergency spares||Relying on your mates and their carefully planned bag of fixers|
|Money for beers / coffee||No money / your buddy’s money|
|Pay your trail fees||Dodge payments at all ‘costs’|
|Pay club / Sanparks / Trail Network annual fee||Ride without paying your dues|
|With a quality bell…on all shared trails||Shouting ‘get out the way’|
|With a mobile phone||Nuff said|
|Emergency contact details on your bike & phone||Incognito and uncontactable is not cool unless no one loves you|
|With pepper spray or a 45 Magnum||Unless you’re Chuck Norris|
|With Strava on||With Strava off|
|Find a friend on||Find a friend off|
|Tell someone where you’re riding||NOT tell someone|
|With basic emergency repair capabilities||With a ‘not a clue what to do’ approach|
|With tyres that have plenty of tread and few plug||Tyres with worn out tread and that looks like a limp, plugged porcupine|